Earlier today, the brilliant statisticians at FiveThirtyEight.com, looking at the results of 20 recent polls, reaffirmed their prediction that Hillary Clinton would, with 99% certainty, win the Michigan primary. [Just three days ago, Politico was projecting a 17-point victory for Clinton.] Well, that’s not what happened. Sanders was just declared winner, beating Clinton by 2 points. As for what this means, I’m not quite sure… Does it mark a turning point in the campaign? Does it prove that we’re undergoing a political sea change in this country? Will Sanders be able to carry the momentum into the next big contests? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
As far as the biggest takeaway from today’s primary, it might be that Sanders is finally starting to get traction with black voters. “One thing helping Sanders tonight is a comparatively strong performance with African-American voters,” said FiveThirtyEight.com’s Nate Silver. “He’s losing them only 65 percent to 30 percent in Michigan, according to exit polls, which doesn’t sound great but is much better than in other states, where he’s lost them as badly as 91 percent to 6 percent.”
Speaking of Nate Silver, he also had this to say about tonight’s incredible upset.
[Silver explains what he thinks may have happened here.]
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, I think, summed things up best. “If there was any doubt before tonight, there can be no longer,” he said. “Bernie Sanders is a movement, and that movement will not and cannot be stopped. Despite the Democratic National Committee, the big Democratic funders, the New York Times and Washington Post; despite the pollsters and pundits and the Washington insiders and political operatives — despite an establishment that doesn’t want to recognize what has happened to America and why this movement is essential to reclaiming our democracy and economy — Bernie will prevail and the political revolution will grow. Americans are joining up and joining together. Sooner or later – hopefully, sooner rather than later — we will succeed.”
In related news, our friend Steve Neavling is reporting that at least three precincts in Flint ran out of ballots today. Apparently the folks in charge didn’t realize that, when you poison people, they tend to want to vote.
Oh, and here’s the graphic from FiveThirtyEight.com showing the likelihood of a Clinton win in Michigan.